After ending the previous session mostly higher, stocks are likely to see further upside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a sharply higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 703 points.
The upward momentum on Wall Street comes amid a report of promising early data related to a potential coronavirus treatment from Gilead Sciences (GILD).
Health-care publication STAT News reported that the experimental Covid-19 treatment remdesivir is showing promise in a Chicago clinical trial.
Investors also seem to be reacting positively to President Donald Trump’s plans for a gradual re-opening of the U.S. economy.
“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump said at the coronavirus task force press briefing Thursday as the White House outlined a three-phase approach to gradually bring back parts of public life.
Shortly after the start of trading, the Conference Board is scheduled to release its reading on leading economic indicators in the month of March. The leading economic index is expected to plunge by 7.0 percent in March after inching up by 0.1 percent in February.
Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Thursday but managed to end the day mostly higher. The Nasdaq posted a particularly strong gain on the day, reflecting strength among tech stocks.
The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. While the Nasdaq surged up 139.19 points or 1.7 percent to 8,532.36, the S&P 500 rose 16.19 points or 0.6 percent to 2,799.55 and the Dow inched up 33.33 points or 0.1 percent to 23,537.68.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 3.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.7 percent.
The major European markets have also shown substantial moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has surged up by 3.9 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 3.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 3.1 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are plunging $2.03 to $17.84 a barrel after closing unchanged at $19.87 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after sliding $8.50 to $1,731.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are slumping $13.70 to $1,718 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 107.49 yen versus the 107.92 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0864 compared to yesterday’s $1.0840.
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